Champions League: Kai Havertz scores winner as Chelsea wins Europe's top prize

Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May 2021 (12:09 IST)
Chelsea’s couldn’t have chosen a better time to score his first goal. Time stood still as the Germany international collected Mason Mount’s through ball, saw his initial effort saved by City keeper Ederson before he stroked the rebound into the empty net. It was the latest peak in the career of the 21-year-old from Aachen.

"This guy is going to be a superstar," captain Cesar Azpilicueta told BT Sport about Havertz before the trophy lift. "He’s given us the Champions League, he runs like crazy, his mentality. It's incredible. He will go on to be a top, top player. That’s why he deserves this."
 
Havertz is one of three German players in a Chelsea team coached by a Bavarian-born Thomas Tuchel. For Tuchel, it’s a personal triumph having turned Chelsea into European champions in less than six months. Against all the odds, the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz coach is a Champions League winner having lost last season’s final with PSG.
 
"We were determined to win this. We wanted to be the stone in their shoe," Tuchel said. "We encouraged everyone to step out and the second half was a pure fight. We would have liked more ball control and to be a bit more brave with the ball, but we still managed to create some opportunities on the counter-attack."
 
While it was Havertz's goal that secured the win, it was Chelsea's fighting qualities that Tuchel spoke of that got them over the line. N'Golo Kante and another German in blue, Antonio Rüdiger, were superb. Kante was Chelsea's engine, denying City's playmakers the space in which to operate. And Rüdiger, the man from Berlin who has repaid Tuchel's faith with a string of magnificent performances since January, was a rock at the back, stepping up after Chelsea lost their inspirational leader, Thiago Silva.
 
Tuchel dashes Guardiola's dream
 
For Manchester City, the Champions League is the competition that continues to evade them. The standout team through this season's tournament, Pep Guardiola's men have been favorites to lift the trophy since their first game in October. But on this balmy night in Portugal, City failed to hit those heights.
 
"It's been and exceptional season for us," Guardiola said, putting a brave face on the defeat. "It was a tough game, we were brilliant, but they are so strong. Maybe we will come back one day."
 
Kevin de Bruyne, the former Chelsea player and City's star man, was short of his influential best, kept quiet by the omnipresent Kante. And when De Bruyne left the game early, with a black eye and in tears after a hefty and cynical challenge by Rüdiger, he took City's hopes with him.
 
Guardiola hasn't won this trophy since his Barcelona team beat Manchester United at Wembley in 2011. The wait goes on for Guardiola, who leaves having been outwitted by the man whom he inspired.